Public sector strikes – the need for realism, and the facts. Please SHARE

Public sector strikes – the need for realism, and the facts. Please SHARE

I very, very much do not want upcoming public sector strikes to go ahead. But we need to address the facts.
The Government has *independent* pay review bodies for each public sector workforce for a good reason – to make a sensible estimate of what it is appropriate and sustainable to offer the public sector in terms of pay. These pay review bodies are averaging around 5% this year in their recommendations.
The moment we break that model, we are into direct pay bargaining between the Government and the trade unions just like in the 1970s (and didn’t that end well).
We all appreciate our excellent public sector workers, who do vitally important work on our behalf. However, what is being asked by the main public sector unions in terms of inflation-busting pay awards is completely unaffordable. The health unions are asking for a *19%* pay rise, for example.
The Government’s best estimate is that paying this would cost an extra £28 billion next year – a thousand pounds more in tax or borrowing for every UK home.
Such an award would also put further rocket boosters under inflation, creating a vicious circle.
It is also critical to recognise the private sector isn’t getting anything like this kind of increase. Private sector pay is rising by an average of around 5%.
And this is before we factor in the much greater value of public sector pensions: the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has reported today that when pensions are taken into account, public sector workers were paid 21% more than private sector in 2021. Even after adjusting for ‘employee characteristics’ (age, education etc), public sector employees get 6% more.
So while we all want resolution to these strikes, resolution can’t mean just caving in.
Source : Simon Clarke MP

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